Microsoft Business Solutions Announces Technical Readiness Resources For Retail Partners

CHICAGO, May 17, 2004 —
Microsoft Business Solutions today announced the availability of technical readiness resources to support business partners that specialize in Microsoft®
Business Solutions Retail Management System. The technical readiness resources were highlighted today at the Retail Systems 2004/VICS Collaborative Commerce conference in Chicago and included the Microsoft Retail Management System Customization Guide, the Microsoft Retail Management System Implementation Guide, hands-on labs, a Web-based curriculum and Retail Insights, a newsletter partners can subscribe to for up-to-date business group announcements, product news and more.

Access Markets International Partners Inc. (AMI-Partners), a strategy and intelligence firm focused on global small and midmarket segment enterprises, reports that approximately one out of every four small businesses and one out of every six medium-sized businesses in the world are retailers. Nearly 60 percent of these retailers rely on manual methods such as paper ledgers or calculators to run their businesses. Microsoft Retail Management System is a point-of-sale (POS) solution designed specifically for small and midsize independent retailers. The scalable solution helps control customer tracking and inventory management. It also integrates with leading financial applications and comprehensive reporting tools to provide small and midsize independent retailers with the business intelligence critical to their ability to remain competitive.

The technical readiness resources showcased today were developed to help retail-focused reselling partners succeed in the thriving small and midsize retail sector. With these tools, Microsoft Corp. intends to enable reselling partners to better address the pain points of small and midsize independent retailers. These smaller retailers are often competing head to head with large chains; to remain competitive they need access to affordable, feature-rich solutions brought to them by local partners that understand their business and their community. The solutions need to be flexible, easily customizable and capable of putting the information where it’s most needed — at the fingertips of the store managers, cashiers and salespeople who directly provide customer service.

“Microsoft Business Solutions is in a good position to help reselling partners accelerate their success in serving the needs of this dynamic, thriving market segment,” said Jeff Riley, general manager of retail solutions at Microsoft Business Solutions. “Microsoft Business Solutions is fully committed to building and supporting a strong, highly educated and diverse channel of partners that are uniquely qualified to help small and midsize independent retailers harness the full power of today’s technology.”

Riley added that a strong partner channel will pave the way for offering small and midsize retailers highly localized service. “By definition, the small and midsize retailers this technology is designed to serve are pillars of their local communities,” he said. “The partners that sell and support Microsoft Retail Management System live and work in the same communities as the retailers they serve. That’s an important consideration for the companies seeking POS technology to more efficiently manage their retail businesses, and it’s important to us.”

Technical Readiness Resources Built to Accelerate Partner Success

The Microsoft Retail Management System Implementation Guide was developed for business partners that work together with Microsoft to distribute, install and support Microsoft Retail Management System. The Implementation Guide covers planning, installation of hardware and software, predeployment testing, merchant training, and operating tasks for the installation and support of Microsoft Retail Management System.

“The Implementation Guide exceeded my expectations,” said Glenn Adams, chief architect with Tiber Creek Consulting, a Microsoft Certified partner that provides professional services and application development expertise to deliver custom integrated POS, inventory management, and e-commerce solutions to the small and midmarket segment retail community. “This definitely lowers the barriers to entry for partners that want to begin distributing Microsoft Retail Management System. Having easily accessible information is going to be good for the product and everyone associated with it.”

The Microsoft Retail Management System Customization Guide documents how to customize Microsoft Retail Management System, clearly identifying the areas in which the solution can be customized and those that are available for integration. The Customization Guide is being rolled out in phases to Certified Microsoft Retail Management System partners to ensure high-quality support and garner feedback from partners.

The online, hands-on labs will provide partners with all the benefits of instructor-led training without requiring them to leave their desk. The labs offer structured, step-by-step instruction that meets learning objectives specific to Microsoft Retail Management System.

The new Web-based learning tools available for Microsoft Retail Management System partners are formatted in easy-to-follow chapters that take approximately one hour to complete. The Web-based learning tools can be used either as refresher material or to prepare for the Microsoft Retail Management System certification exam.

Finally, Retail Insights is a biweekly newsletter that will help partners stay up to date on Microsoft Retail Management System announcements, news and more. Partners can subscribe to the newsletter by visiting PartnerSource.

About Microsoft Business Solutions

Microsoft Business Solutions offers integrated business applications and services that allow small and midsize organizations and divisions of large enterprises to connect employees, customers and suppliers for improved efficiency. The financial management, customer relationship management, supply chain management and analytics applications work with Microsoft products such as Office and Windows®
to streamline processes across an entire organization, giving businesses insight to respond rapidly, plan strategically and execute quickly. Microsoft Business Solutions applications are delivered through a worldwide network of channel partners that provide specialized services and local support tailored to a company’s needs.

About Microsoft

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